Lindsey Stirling: Brave Enough Tour 2016 at Comerica Theatre

       Downtown Phoenix was alive and busy with excitement as fans of all ages make their way to Comerica Theatre for tonight’s sold out show featuring Lindsey Stirling on the last night of the North American leg of the Brave Enough Tour 2016 here in the capital city of Arizona on November 12th, 2016!

       Lindsey Stirling brave enough? Yes, brave enough to bring a mixture of classical, modern, and illusionary performing arts with aspects of humor and personality that continues to win the hearts and minds of millions of people worldwide. She is a living analogy of the mythical Phoenix as she has risen from the ashes of negativity and broken free of the stereotypical classification aspect of the entertainment industry and along her journey she has won her creative freedom to amaze the masses.

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

       The woman that we know today as a violinist, dancer, composer and performing artist was born in Santa Ana, California, and later raised in Gilbert, Arizona. Sterling’s first steps that would begin her education to the musical arts would be at the age of five when she began her violin lessons. As a teenager she played in a rock band called Stomp on Melvin, and competed in the Junior Miss competition and would win the Arizona Junior Miss title. In 2010, is where Lindsey Stirling would begin her journey and introduce herself and her musical and performing style to the world as she competed in the American reality TV series America’s Got Talent in it’s fifth season and would gain praise from the audience and receive criticism from the judges that would see her departure from the competition and truly test her in many aspects.

       With renewed strength and passion for her art, Lindsey would release her first and only EP to date titled Lindsey Stomp and would find another way to find her audience. With the help of a few contacts, Stirling would embrace and incorporate today’s social media and began filming videos and feature them on her own channel on YouTube called Lindseystomp (named after her first band) and today has over 8.5 million subscribers. With gaining popularity from her appearance on America’s Got Talent and a large following on YouTube and over the course of the next two years, she would record and release her first full-length album Lindsey Stirling in late September of 2012.

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

       Lindsey’s first album which contained tracks from her EP as well as all original material would prove to be a success as it would win multiple certifications in Europe, gold certifications in Poland and Switzerland, and platinum certifications in Germany and Austria. The single for “Crystallize” would be Stirling’s first gold certification by the RIIA. Lindsey would kick off her first tour 3 days before the album’s release and lasted almost a year with 122 dates around North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia with 46 shows selling out.

       Following the success of her first album and tour, Stirling would release her second album Shatter Me in April of 2014 and would be her first album to collaborate with other vocalists such as Lzzy Hale and Dia Frampton. In the first week with sales of 56,000 copies, Shatter Me debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, becoming the best sales week of Stirling’s career.

       In 2014/2015 Lindsey Stirling would embark on the Shatter Me World Tour and The Music Box Tour and perform in front of new audiences in various locations around the globe. At the Billboard Music Awards, Shatter me would win the award for Top Dance/Electronic Album in 2015.

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

       After winning many awards and many accomplishments in bringing her art to the world, Lindsey Stirling would go back into the studio and record her next album titled Brave Enough. This album would be very personal in many regards as during the time that this album was created, Stirling’s longtime keyboardist and friend Jason ‘Gavi’ Gaviati passed away (RIP) and this album is as stated by Lindsey as being both a tribute and a reflection of the impact of that loss and how it affected her and gave her strength to carry on. Brave Enough features the final piece of music that Jason and Lindsey worked on together and went unfinished at the time of his passing, Stirling would complete the piece and title it, “Gavi’s Song”. Brave Enough was released in August of 2016.

       With her third studio release, Brave Enough debuted at number one on the US Dance/Electronic Albums chart and number 5 on the Billboard 200, where it peaked. Lindsey Stirling would embark on the North American Brave Enough tour 2016 and tonight here in Phoenix, Arizona will be the final date of this tour.

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

       Outside of Comerica Theatre fans of all ages are lined up around the building and waiting to get inside of this sold out show, many have come straight here from work, brought their families with them, and signifies another testament to the success of Lindsey Stirling that not only does the music that she creates cross the boundaries of music genres, but it crosses the generational gap as evident by the attendees present here tonight.

       With fans making their way into the lobby and many heading straight to the merch booths for some concert swag, and some going for refreshments, and the rest filtering into the theatre to find theirs seats to await the upcoming show, their is no doubt a visible excitement by many of the people here.

       The Theatre here is packed including the upper balconies with all in wait for the show to begin as screams and applause begin as the house lights turn off and at 9PM, we begin. The set begins with the intro to “The Phoenix” revealing at the top center section of the stage a silhouette of Lindsey playing her violin of what looks like a white screen as her shadow casts upon it, after about a minute another spotlight turns on revealing the real Stirling playing in the aisle as she makes her way through the crowd with security escorting her to the stage, the crowd taken by this surprise unleash their cheer and laugh at this opening trick of misdirection.

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

       The audience on the ground floor are all standing with many holding their young children up so they can see the choreographed dance routine amidst the light show as Stirling performs the opening song and gracefully travels around the stage. Giving the crowd a moment’s pause to cheer at the end of the first song the show continues with “Electric Daisy Violin”. Within every pause of the song the fans would cheer as many clapped along to the beat of it as well. Just before the third song, with the stage going dark and a spotlight shines on Lindsey as she comes forward to a mic to address the crowd. “What’s up Phoenix, how are you?” asked Stirling as she continues, “Holy cow you guys, this is…the last night of our US Brave Enough tour…and you know I could not imagine a better place to end this amazing run of my favorite show we’ve ever done…you guys this is my hometown!” With cheer exploding from the crowd, Lindsey continues, ”Raised in Arizona, I love it here, I have friends, I have family here tonight,….I have been looking forward to this…I can feel your guys’s energy, this is going to be so much fun, …and I really did save…..purposefully… the best for last, so thank you Phoenix…enjoy your night!” The response from this gesture from Stirling was a continuous roar of cheer showing some hometown love!

       With the crowd energized for more, “Prism” and “Shatter Me” mesmerized the crowd with the light show and a transparent screen was lowered in front of the stage that caught projected images but retained full visibility of the stage behind it giving a layered effect and with a wardrobe change and a team of dancers joining in the performance really captivated the audience as with the lighting effect giving the illusion of being trapped and breaking free of the snowglobes containing them and Lindsey.

       The people here have really gotten into the dynamic of the show as they witness it unfold with the intricate balance between music, lights and dancing and imagery projected onto the stage and by the screens on stage during ”Lost Girls” and “Elements”.

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

       The stage goes dark as a screen in the center of the stage comes to life showing a backstage view of Lindsey coming off stage and having one problem after another as she makes her way around backstage and interacting with various members of the crew as it becomes obvious that this is a satirical extreme that ties into the show when Lindsey returns to the stage with a “mini” violin that circumstances forced her to “borrow” from a young fan, and with the audience in good humor and still laughing at the video clip that was just presented, Stirling raises the small “toy-like” violin in her hand and claims that it is a real instrument about the size of what she first used to learn to play the violin.

       Joining her at the front of the stage are her keyboardist and drummer still wearing robes and carrying small instruments of their own as they all take position and sit down and begin to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, which then turned into a combination of tunes that the crowd clapped along with and laughed at times as they realized that the trio was playing tunes from well known movies, at the end Lindsey introduces the audience to her little and beautiful violin “Pickles”. With an amused crowd laughing, the gentlemen joining her on stage chime in good humor and remind Stirling that she’s not alone, and in a display of good humor introduce her band members Drew Steen (Drums) and Kit Nolan (Keyboards), and Kit points out that the little girl that Lindsey “borrowed” the violin from was his niece and that she’s in the audience….and Stirling apologizes for having to steal her violin as it was for “the good of the show”.

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

       After a small comedic exchange between the band, Lindsey goes on to express to the audience of her admiration for Disney and with her humorous explanation drawing cheer and laughter, and the music continues with “Something Wild” which is featured in the 2016 Disney film Pete’s Dragon. Clapping filled the theatre from the audience as they joined in the performance of this song. With her stage crew coming on stage and attending to what needs to be done, Lindsey takes a moment to show her appreciation towards her crew and calls for applause for her stage “ninjas”, with laughter coming from all around from the the fans respond to the request.  

       Lindsey continues to speak to the crowd about the time and in some cases years that she has spent with some of her band and crew and refer to them as family (on wheels) and shares with the audience her time and experience with her keyboard player Jason ‘Gavi’ Gaviati who passed away last fall and during this display of openness of Stirling there was absolute silence within the theatre until a momentary show of support of applause came from the crowd and she continued on that this next song went unfinished and that she went forward and finished it and that this is “Gavi’s Song”. A truly moved audience showed their respect by applauding in a somber manner as Lindsey came forward again to reiterate about this time frame and how it affected her and explains that this album and many of its contents are a reflection of the lessons learned from these experiences and the next song is about “gratitude” and “Those Days” begins and the screens on stage showed images and video moments of the times spent with Jason. Applause once again filled the theatre after the emotional display of such an honorable and respectful tribute to someone who meant and taught so much to Lindsey.

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

       Continuing right into “Crystallize” wearing a blue dress and dancing through fog with images of frozen landscapes and as the stage goes dark the crew and dancers come out and begin a comedic routine af setting the stage for the next song which begins with the impression of a classic circus stage routine with red curtains as Lindsey reappears on stage wearing a costume representing a ringmaster of old, but in her case a ringmistress as she begins to perform “Hold My Heart”. With her dancers assisting, they roll onto the stage a blue magician’s box that Lindsey positions herself within and close the lids as the upper half has cutouts to allow her to continue playing her violin as her assistants drop sectioning plates into the halves and separate the sections as Lindsey continues to perform and of course, the lower section with wiggling feet exposed makes it rounds on stage as the dancers spin the two sections around on stage before combining them and a “whole” Lindsey emerges from the box and gracefully presents herself and rejoins the choreographed routine with her dancers to finish the performance.

       Ringmistress Lindsey comes forward and after a welcoming and comedic exchange between her and the audience brings out her “single, most important member of her crew”, to assist her on stage, and her dog Miss Luna joins her for a comedic routine on stage and after the applause ends after Miss Luna’s performance, Lindsey begins to tell the audience of the resistance that she faced when she began to hone her craft, and even recounted her experience on the TV show America’s Got Talent and that she was told that “I did not have what it took to sell out a theatre”, and with the applause and cheer rising throughout the theatre, the house lights come on revealing the crowd of this sold out show and Stirling continues with “interesting….very, very interesting” as she continues with an inspirational message to her fans as to what the next song is about, having the courage to step into the arena.

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

       The intro begins to “The Arena” and the performance is awe taking as the light show begins with a chaotic display that forms into shapes that combine and reveal columns of light that represent ancient to classic architectural structures of arenas as Lindsey performs and maneuvers around the stage, once again finding her way back to the raised center platform as words scroll across the displays that reinforce the meaning of this song as well as the narrations played throughout the song, through the applause of the audience “Mirage” begins with Stirling and her dancers engaging in a well coordinated dance routine that encompasses a mixture of fast to slow and graceful intervals that amazed the fans as Lindsey once again heads to the center top platform and positions herself in a meditative sitting position as she begins to rise as if levitating as she continues to play her violin with a smile she steps off and makes her way down the platforms and seamlessly rejoins the dance routine with her dancers once again. With her dancers disappearing for a moment and reappearing with large red feather fans as Lindsey kneels with her dancers surrounding her and closing them around her and opening them for the audience to see and closing them for the final time as the stage goes dark with whistles and cheer complimenting the song’s performance.

       With a very fast wardrobe change Lindsey returned to the stage center platform for “Stars Align” with cosmic imagery displayed across the screens, she makes her way down to be joined again by her dancers as they begin a sequential and complex routine and graceful display that made every use of available space as the made their way performing through an intense light show that had a moment of intense blue lighting combined with the fog that reflected the light creating a huge blue aura, hiding the stage performers as they gathered at the lower main stage area as the lights returned to the fast paced sequence as the dance progression went from side to side and ending with them bowing down in the center with Stirling raising her bow in salute, and then all run off stage as it goes dark.

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

       The enormous amount of varying types of cheer and applause coming from the crowd of concertgoers was thunderous as they rose from their seats to join in and in the darkness of the stage a quick flash from the stage lights brought more cheer, and then again more flashes that teased the audience of an encore.

       From the darkness an electric guitar rang out as some of the lights of the stage came on to show Kit coming onto the platform as Lindsey announced her arrival with her violin as she made her way onto the platform opposite kit, as Drew starts with his drums as “Roundtable Rival” kicks in as Kit and Lindsey square off in the duel of instruments, with Stirling coming down from the platform and performing across the stage from side to side as she returned to her side, Kit returned on his side of the stage as both were joined by a pair of dancers as all made their way to center stage to continue the duel and join and face the crowd and perform as one (yes Kit danced as well) before returning to the duel with Kit making his way back up to the center platform as Lindsey joined by all dancers continued to perform below. The dancers then took position behind screens that showed their silhouettes dancing as Stirling stepped down from the stage into the crowd for a moment before returning to the stage as  “Don’t Let This Feeling Fade” begins.

       The screens concealing the dancers leave the stage as the dancers come forward to join Lindsey wearing outfits with matching colors that react to the black lights including Stirling’s violin, they perform as one dancing unit with only the neon colors of the their costumes being the most visible with the screens of the stage showing early polygonal outlines of computer generated graphics that are reminiscent of early video games and the movie Tron. With a momentary pause the dancers come forward with their arms up clapping and the crowd joins them as the song plays on with Lindsey returning to the center of the platform as the stage lights die and the spotlights turn on illuminating every performer on stage with a sequential solo pattern of focused light in intervals emphasizing their routine before returning to the full performance spectrum as the dancers file in behind Lindsey as they group together at the front center of the stage and end the show with Stirling’s arm raised holding her bow once again in salute to the crowd!                  

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

©Adam Messler / Soundwave Brigade

       The audience’s reaction to Lindsey’s finale was a frenzy of applause and cheer as Stirling again takes the microphone and responds with “Whoa!, thank you so much Phoenix!”, and she introduces her dancers and brings her crew on stage and all join hands and step forward and bow to a standing ovation of applause by the crowd. “Alright we are going to take a picture with you Phoenix”, says Lindsey as her and her crew group together with the fans behind them and take a picture and with a final wave they exit the stage and bring an end to an amazing show!

       Lindsey Stirling has definitely proven her harshest critics to be wrong about her and her talents as tonight’s sold out show has proven and this was an amazing performance that lasted over an hour and a half filled with many high points and will be remembered by all who came here to Comerica Theatre to witness the last date of the North American Brave Enough Tour.

       Lindsey Stirling has many exciting and upcoming events planned as next year she will kick off a European Brave Enough Tour as dates are already scheduled. For more information about Lindsey Stirling and how to stay up to date on upcoming events, we have some links provided below for your convenience,

http://www.lindseystirling.com/

https://www.facebook.com/lindseystirlingmusic/

https://www.youtube.com/user/lindseystomp

       Soundwave Brigade would like to thank Lindsey Stirling for the opportunity and privilege of covering such an amazing performance as Adam was honored to be able to photograph this performance as well as myself for being able to witness it as this has been my most challenging review that I’ve ever written to date. We would also like to thank Lindsey Stirling’s crew and members of her band for an epic performance, as well as to thank Comerica Theatre and their staff for hosting tonight’s events, and Danielle from Live Nation Entertainment for her assistance, again thank you all.

       Coverage provided by Adam and Alex at Soundwave Brigade.com

http://soundwavebrigade.com/galleries/lindsey-stirling-nov-2016-comerica-theatre/

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